County of Marin - News Releases - Sir Francis Drake Boulevard Repairs

For Immediate Release
July 22, 2015

Public Review Open on Point Reyes Pavement Project

Feedback sought about planned repairs on segment of Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

San Rafael, CA – About 12 miles of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in rural western Marin County is slated for structural and safety improvements, and public feedback about the plans is being sought through August 13.

A 'before' photo of a section of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard that needs repair.The Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) was awarded $15.5 million in federal funds in 2014 to restore the structural integrity and enhance safety aspects on the part of Drake Boulevard that leads to the Point Reyes Lighthouse and Point Reyes Lifeboat Station. The area targeted for upgrades winds through the Point Reyes National Seashore between the Drake intersections with Pierce Point Road on the north end and Chimney Rock Road on the south end.

According to tentative plans, construction could begin January 2016 if the approval process progresses as anticipated.

In conjunction with the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration, DPW initiated an environmental study to address improvements along the deteriorating stretch of Drake Boulevard. The environmental study is available for review with proposed mitigative measures. DPW is the lead agency for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The pavement is described as badly oxidized, heavily patched, lacking shoulder support and demonstrating significant cracking and edge damage. In some sections, the road is as narrow as 18 feet, or 6 feet less than modern standards.  The narrow conditions, sometimes with no road shoulders, provide little or no room for errant drivers to correct steering without running a vehicle off the edge of the road. Switchbacks on hills and flood-prone areas show evidence of tires dropping off pavement edges. Seasonal flooding of the creek near Schooner Bay has been known to force road closures for several days.

The renovation would include widening the roadway 1 to 6 feet to maintain a consistent 24-foot width with two 11-foot travel lanes and 1-foot shoulders. The project contains plans for new asphalt, new striping, new signage, replacement of two cattle under-crossings, replacement of cross culverts including the crossing at Schooner Creek, and installation of other safety features to meet design standards.  

Although that section of Drake Boulevard runs through federal property, it is maintained by County DPW. Funding for the rehabilitation project was awarded by the Federal Lands Access Program, which supplements state and local resources for public roads, transit systems and other transportation facilities that are located within or adjacent to federal land. The project is expected to cost roughly $17.6 million – about $15.5 million in federal highway funds, about $2 million from the County of Marin and $400,000 from the National Parks Service.

Printed copies of environmental review and related technical studies are available at the Point Reyes Public Library (11435 Shoreline Highway, Point Reyes Station) and the Civic Center Library (3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 427, San Rafael.

Comments may be made through the National Park Service website. Written comments may be mailed or hand-delivered to SFDB Improvement Project EA c/o Superintendent, Point Reyes National Seashore, 1 Bear Valley Road, Point Reyes National Seashore, CA 94956. Comments are not accepted via email or fax.


John Berg
Assistant Engineer
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7861
Email: John Berg
Public Works website